Will I ever get the hang of the Portuguese language? I had been having some success with one-to-one tuition with a native speaker visiting me at home each week, but thanks to a winter break and then Covid, the classes ended and I was back to square one again.
Online Classes via Zoom
Someone recommended a tutor online for me, and I decided to find out more. I checked out the Facebook page and website for Portuguese Language Lessons and liked what I saw. I contacted the tutor, Emma, and she impressed me. She teaches European Portuguese and has a friendly, relaxed style. Her prices were also very reasonable, a course costs just 25€ per month (4 weeks) or 65€ for the 3-month (12 week) course.
She has a range of courses to suit all abilities. I selected a class with a basic curriculum from the list. There is a checklist you can follow to determine which level of learning would be best for you. Although I can speak and understand a lot more Portuguese now, my pronunciation is still pretty poor. The timing also suited me, with a mid-afternoon Zoom class per week.
What I wasn’t expecting, and which I have been amazed at, is the amount of extra materials Emma provides each week for you. Before a lesson, she sends out an email, which includes links to a worksheet, a video on YouTube, and a snazzy range of learning cards hosted through a site called Quizlet.
As well as a range of mini-lessons, the Quizlet link also has a nifty set of ‘games’ you can play to test your knowledge and improve your vocabulary.
Add to that, Emma sends you a worksheet in advance of the hour’s zoom lesson each week. Groups of up to ten people in a class means there is plenty of time to ask questions, and to break-out into zoom rooms to practise the topics for the week.
As if that wasn’t enough—she sends you a homework revision sheet after the class each week as well! All that for only sixty euros for twelve weeks.
I had previously tried to grapple with two sets of books that my old tutor had recommended to me:
They both come with workbooks too and can be ordered online or instore at fnac. There is something about trying to learn alone, without any interaction, and critically for me, without anyone to check your pronunciation, that makes it much harder to progress. The books have both, sadly, sat in a box beside my computer for several months.
Other Online Resources
The premise is a simple one. Each week, Leo, a native Portuguese speaker, posts up a new episode for you to watch. Each week has a different theme, and he provides a script with the video or podcast. This means that you can listen along and absorb the Portuguese language in a gently immersive way. Leo speaks very clearly, and the videos are always interesting and entertaining. You can also find a translation of the script if you get stuck.
Here is the link to his website:
Finally, one app for beginners that I found really useful when I first started learning Portuguese was the nifty Linkword programme. This uses word association to introduce you to a wide range of words and phrases that are really useful.
I have a creative mind and I am a visual learner and literally years later I can still remember the words I learnt from this course. You have a word – let’s say ‘cow’ – which is ‘vaca’ in Portuguese. You picture a cow vacuuming a field – and learn the word. I don’t know why, but this really resonated with me and I found it brilliant. Dave hated it!
Here is the link to the website:
Linkword European Portuguese
Hopefully, one day soon I might be able to let you know that I have finally started to speak better Portuguese. I’m sure all of our neighbours hope so too!
Let me know in the comments of any resources, classes, or online links that you have found useful in learning this beautiful, if slightly frustrating, romantic language.